Finding Shemballah, Book 2 in the Chronicles of Nequam, is now available on Amazon! And can I say that it feels soooo good to finally have it out there? Getting it to this point was a little easier than publishing Laryn Rising, mostly because I at least this time I kind of knew what I was doing. (Or, more precisely, I knew which things I couldn't do myself and who would do them for me...)
Now that the book is out and I can relax, I've been looking back over this journey with some bitter-sweet feelings. I admit it, I love Laryn. I wish I were more like her (and no, despite what my mother might say we are nothing alike). Regardless of how exciting it was to finally write 'The End' for book two, it's been hard to say goodbye to these characters. As I've mentioned before, my current project is juvenile fiction and although I'm having a blast writing it, I truly loved the emotional intensity of writing Laryn. With that said, I thought it would be fun to share some of the inside story behind the writing of these two books, so here we go...
Ten Random Facts About Finding Shemballah:
1. I never intended for Laryn's story to take two books.
2. You know the 'Big Decision' Laryn has to make in Laryn Rising? It was never part of the original storyline. When I realized there was no way Laryn and her sisters could assimilate fast enough to get them off the ship according to plan (i.e., without ending up with a giant, doorstop-sized tome), I had to scramble, rethink, and risk ruining everything in order to split the story into two books and make a complete story out of their journey to Nequam. In the end, I think it was the best decision I made.
3. Inventing a new planet is kind of hard. Don't believe me? Stop right now and see how long it takes you to design, AND NAME, three alien species. Go ahead and try it. If you have any success, leave your new creations (with full details) in the comment box because I'd love to see them. Let's just say I have a whole new respect for the writers of Star Wars, lol.
4. Plymouth was originally named Republic (hence the name for the colonial money being 'pubs', which is short for publicans), but then some astute readers pointed out that I had 'Republic' and 'The Federation', which was a bit too Star-Wars-ish. I still like Republic better, and I never did get used to calling the people of Plymouth 'Plymouthans', although that is the accepted name for 'People from Plymouth'. Who knew?
5. Alistair is my favorite character in Finding Shemballah. (Aside from Laryn, of course.)
6. When I realized I could no longer call book two Republic (see fun fact #4) I almost named it Promise Bound. But despite the great reviews I got on that option, it sounded too much like the title of a cheesy romance to me, and every time I considered it Fabio appeared in my head...
7. I have eleven full revisions of Finding Shemballah. Seriously.
8. The first draft was almost 250,000 words long. The final is around 170,000, which means I cut EIGHTY THOUSAND WORDS!!! out of this manuscript. (I hope all my editing clients read this. It might make them feel better, lol.)
9. There is a map for this book, but since I drew it myself it kind of looks like a 5th grader's geography project. Needless to say, it isn't currently included. Unfortunately, I have no idea where to go to find a map drawing person (cartographer?), so until I figure that out this book will remain mapless. This kind of makes me really sad because I LOVE maps! I even have a whole pinterest board dedicated solely to really cool book maps. (Does that make me weird?)
10. The inspiration for this entire series came from laziness. I love historical fiction. I love stories about American colonial life and all the challenges and adventures that went along with leaving the known for the unknown, and I always wanted to write historical fiction. Then I went to college, majored in History, realized how much research a person would have to do to write successful historical fiction, and promptly started trying to figure out a way to write history without all the research. Besides that, the idea of people from the future having to live in a pastoral world kind of captivated me. In the end, however, creating a whole world and all the creatures and places in it wasn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be, and there were days when I was absolutely positive that there wasn't another name, description, or 'fun fact' about Nequam in my head. Period. But in the end, I managed to come up with a story that, to me, illustrates that when push comes to shove human beings are amazingly strong and resilient, and as a society they will nearly always rise to the occasion.
Thank you to everyone who has shared Laryn's story with me, and to all the people who helped me along the way! I appreciate every time my books are reviewed, pinned, shared, tweeted, emailed, or talked about, because without all of that no one would even know they exist. Such is the world of the self-published, but I truly believe that if a book is good enough the world will find it.